What About Freedom

I have a lot to say, and now I have a little more time to say it. People who have read my blog have probably deduced by now that I have a lot of liberal views. I believe very strongly in the concept of freedom. Perhaps that comes from my study of US history (I did get my degree in that field), or maybe I just like the idea of being free. Our forefathers came to this country to escape religious persecution. Europe was being overrun by zealots who thought that everyone should think, feel and act exactly the same way. Once they got here, they went to great pains to set up a form of government that ensured that one branch would not retain too much power. The reason for this was to stave off corruption. They did not want the government to be able to force the people to do things against their better judgement. They purposely made the Constitution an evolutionary document with the understanding that times would change, and that the document would need to change with them. These were brilliant men who held to the belief that we should be wary of government and ever vigilant in our effort to educate and protect ourselves.

I find it ironic that that a mere two centuries later most people in this country look at this government as some sort of parent figure. Instead of being wary of the freedoms we are losing to the government, most people thank the government for its protection. My question is, what, exactly, is our government protecting us against? With each new freedom the government takes from us, the crime rates in this country either stay the same or go up. So is gun control and the “war on drugs” really protecting us from anything?

My answer to that question is, NO. What does the government really achieve by stripping freedoms from its citizens? First and foremost, it gets more complacent citizens. With less freedom, the citizens feel helpless and powerless. How can a powerless, weaponless republic fight back against such a formidable foe such as a well armed government? Well, they can’t, as long as they perceive themselves as powerless. Perception is a very important tool. People are never powerless, especially when they share the same goals.

Again, perception comes into play. By telling people that something is bad, hence, illegal, people begin to believe it. It does not matter whether or not it’s true, the fact that the law says so, means that we must treat it as fact. This concept is one of the most frustrating for me, as a parent. How do you explain the difference between fact and political law to a child? Just because something is law, doesn’t make it true, but you still have to treat it like it’s true or you will go to jail. It’s a bad, bad, concept, and one that doesn’t belong in a civilized society.

Then you have the effects these things have on our society as a whole. By creating superfluous laws and filling our jails with victimless “criminals,” the government creates ghettos and “rap sheets” for people who should not have them. The number of jails that have to be built to accommodate the outrageous number of superfluous, victimless crimes is absurd. The neighborhoods that are forced to house the jails almost immediately fall into disrepair, becoming what is commonly referred to as ghettos. Then you have the people. All it takes is for a kid to get caught with a joint at school. If s/he is 17 of older, that offense can be put on his/her permanent record and follow that child to every school intake interview and job interview s/he goes to for the rest of his/her life. That one incident could ensure that the child never gets a good job or into a good college. Because of one mistake, that child could end up dealing drugs on the street because s/he had no other options. In a free society, such a thing should NEVER happen.

I find it utterly appalling to know that our laws are set up to ensure that one mistake can ruin a child’s life. How many mistakes do our politicians make every day? Everyone makes mistakes, and no one should have to suffer so severely for it. We learn from our mistakes. It’s called being human.

In the end, our freedoms should be important to us. We should not watch them be systematically stripped away. With each freedom we lose, we lose a little of ourselves. With each invasion into our privacy, we lose a little of our dignity. Every time we let someone else take from us, we lose a little of who we are. It’s important to remember who we are and where we came from.

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